Paranormal tourism in Edinburgh : storytelling, appropriating ghost culture and presenting an uncanny heritage
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The paranormal industry in Edinburgh has become a thriving niche within the country’s tourist market. While ghost walks have been explored in anthropology from the perspective of spectacle, this thesis investigates and analyses the cultural framework which has furthered the success of the industry. Namely, the ways in which the paranormal industry have appropriated the beliefs and practices of an overarching ghost culture: a community of believers, investigators, mediums, and all those who actively attempt to engage with the paranormal. The increased visibility of the paranormal within popular culture has spurred a wide interest in the unknown and unexplained. Ghost hunting television shows and the prevalence of ghost stories has inspired the desire for unique experiences, and for audiences to contextualise the supernatural within their own lives. The paranormal industry has grown to accommodate this intense, active enthusiasm for all things spectral, and belief has become a commodity. This burgeoning fascination in ghosts has become an important aspect of how Scotland is sold as a destination. While commercial paranormal industries exist in other cities around the world, the historical perception of Scotland as other has created a precedent for the connection between Scottish national identity and the spectral. This thesis further investigates the ways in which the tourist industry continues to solidify the connection between Scottish heritage and the paranormal.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy